Media Connector: Common Copper Media Connectors

Media Connector: Common Copper Media Connectors
Different Physical layer standards specify the use of different connectors. These standards specify the mechanical dimensions of the connectors and the acceptable electrical properties of each type for the different implementations in which they are employed.

Although some connectors may look the same, they may be wired differently according to the Physical layer specification for which they were designed. The ISO 8877 specified RJ-45 connector is used for a range of Physical layer specifications, one of which is Ethernet. Another specification, EIA-TIA 568, describes the wire color codes to pin assignments (pinouts) for Ethernet straight-through and crossover cables.

Although many types of copper cables can be purchased pre-made, in some situations, especially in LAN installations, the termination of copper media may be performed onsite. These terminations include crimped connections to terminate Cat5 media with RJ-45 plugs to make patch cables, and the use of punched down connections on 110 patch panels and RJ-45 jacks. The figure shows some of the Ethernet wiring components.

Correct Connector Termination
Each time copper cabling is terminated, there is the possibility of signal loss and the introduction of noise to the communication circuit. Ethernet workplace cabling specifications stipulate the cabling necessary to connect a computer to an active network intermediary device. When terminated improperly, each cable is a potential source of Physical layer performance degradation. It is essential that all copper media terminations be of high quality to ensure optimum performance with current and future network technologies.

In some cases, for example in some WAN technologies, if an improperly wired RJ-45-terminated cable is used, damaging voltage levels may be applied between interconnected devices. This type of damage will generally occur when a cable is wired for one Physical layer technology and is used with a different technology.

Common Optical Fiber Connectors
Fiber-optic connectors come in a variety of types. The figure shows some of the most common:
Straight-Tip (ST) (trademarked by AT &T) - a very common bayonet style connector widely used with multimode fiber.Subscriber Connector (SC) - a connector that uses a push-pull mechanism to ensure positive insertion. This connector type is widely used with single-mode fiber.Lucent Connector (LC) - A small connector becoming popular for use with single-mode fiber and also supports multi-mode fiber. Terminating and splicing fiber-optic cabling requires special training and equipment. Incorrect termination of fiber optic media will result in diminished signaling distances or complete transmission failure.

Three common types of fiber-optic termination and splicing errors are:
Misalignment - the fiber-optic media are not precisely aligned to one another when joined.End gap - the media do not completely touch at the splice or connection.End finish - the media ends are not well polished or dirt is present at the termination.It is recommended that an Optical Time Domain Reflectometer (OTDR) be used to test each fiber-optic cable segment. This device injects a test pulse of light into the cable and measures back scatter and reflection of light detected as a function of time. The OTDR will calculate the approximate distance at which these faults are detected along the length of the cable.A field test can be performed by shining a bright flashlight into one end of the fiber while observing the other end of the fiber. If light is visible, then the fiber is capable of passing light. Although this does not ensure the performance of the fiber, it is a quick and inexpensive way to find a broken fiber.

Media Connector: Common Copper Media Connectors
Media Connector: Common Copper Media Connectors
Media Connector: Common Copper Media Connectors
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